Bipolar disorder in teens is a mental disorder that causes dramatic shifts in a person’s behavior, thinking, and energy. Bipolar disorder in teens creates ever changing periods of mania and depression. These periods vary from person to person and symptoms may appear at any point during the teenage years.
Awareness of the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder in teens is crucial to getting your teen the help they need. Failure to recognize symptoms of bipolar disorder in teens can result in poor school performance, deterioration of peer and family relationships, and suicidal ideation. Most manic and depressive episodes last a week or two, and sometimes more. Symptoms during these periods last all day for most of the day.
Teens going through a manic episode may:
- Behave unusually happy or silly
- Demonstrate risky behavior
- Experience insomnia, but don’t feel tired
- Rapid speech, interrupting others
- Have trouble focusing, being attentive
- Short temper
Depressive episodes in teens are characterized by:
- Feelings of sadness and isolation
- Sleep a lot or too little
- Changes in eating habits
- Disinterest in previously enjoyable activities
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Thoughts of death and suicide
Several factors may cause bipolar disorder in teens. These factors include:
- Genetic: If immediate family members have bipolar disorder, bipolar disorder in teens is more likely to develop.
- Anxiety disorders: Teens with anxiety disorders are more likely to develop bipolar disorder.
- Abnormalities in brain structure and function: Imbalances in brain chemistry may play a role in bipolar disorder.
Researchers still don’t know what causes bipolar disorder exactly. However, ongoing research will help future bipolar patients in getting the correct treatment.